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Shift toward blended learning and online courses

By Alyssa Sanford
Staff Writer

The Student Government general body meeting on Wednesday, Feb. 4, opened with a presentation about instructional design and technology.

Judi Cook, director of the College’s newly formed Task Force on Instructional Technology, transferred from Salem State University in Massachusetts and started her position as director in August of 2014. Cook, who was the chair of the Communications department, led faculty members at SSU in discussions about blended and online learning at the collegiate level.

“I realized that my colleagues were thirsty for an opportunity to share resources and to learn from each other,” Cook said.

The Task Force on Instructional Technology, formed by Jacqueline Taylor, the provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, includes 28 faculty members and several students. The faculty members represent each of the schools within the College.

The task force aims to implement blended learning and online courses at the College. Because the College already uses online resources like Canvas to enrich the classroom experience, Cook is confident that students have “opportunities for improving active learning.”

Though Cook acknowledges the shift toward instructional technology is “not going to happen automatically,” the College is already testing out blended courses and exclusively online courses during summer and winter academic sessions. The task force hopes to introduce these alternatives to a traditional classroom experience in fall and spring semesters.

Later in the meeting, Vice President of Advancement Sarah Drozd announced that a $25,000 scholarship fund for current general body members of Student Government is $3,000 short of its fundraising goal. The money raised will go into an endowment fund, and $500 per year will be awarded to a general body member in order to encourage participation in the organization.

Following, Vice President of Student Services Navid Radfar announced that TCNJam, a dance-a-thon held on Saturday, Jan. 31, raised over $50,000 to end childhood cancer.

Afterward, Vice President of Academic Affairs Adam Bonanno informed the general body that the Spring Activities Fair will take place on Wednesday, Feb. 11,  in the Brower Student Center from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and urged student organizations to set up tables to recruit new members.

Then, Vice President of Equity and Diversity Javier Nicasio unveiled “People of TCNJ,” an Instagram account modeled after the widely-followed “Humans of New York” social media account. Once a week, a student, faculty or staff member will be interviewed and profiled. Nicasio urged the general body to follow @PeopleofTCNJ on Instagram.

Before the meeting ended, the junior class council announced it will tentatively hold auditions for TCNJ’s Got Talent on Thursday, Feb. 12, and Wednesday, Feb. 18. The show will be on Wednesday, March 11.

Sophomore class president Robert Kinloch announced that popular Eick worker Eve Cruz will be featured on T-shirts in a design generated by the class of 2017. The class is also selling quarter-zip sweatshirts.

Finally, the freshman class will be holding its freshman formal late this year. Due to unforeseen circumstances, the formal was delayed until a later date. It is tentatively scheduled for Friday, April 24, or Saturday, April 25.


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